REVIEW: Since Forever Ago by Olivia Besse

From Goodreads:

Fresh off the heels of a devastating breakup, Riley Benson is a mess. But with her ingenious plan to become a ball-busting heartbreaker herself, she’s pretty sure she’ll survive. After all, what better way is there to get revenge than to move on?Teenager Carrying His Girlfriend

Riley’s determined to become the perfect bachelorette—she’s going to drink like a bro, belch like a beast and swear so much that she’ll make even the most seasoned sailors blush. After all, those are the qualities that every guy’s secretly looking for…. aren’t they?

Max Fletcher is in love with the girl who gave him chicken pox and his first broken leg. When his best friend seems to finally be out of the picture, he can’t help but want to keep Riley all to himself. And, after coaching her with the very best of the very worst love advice, it seems as if he might actually get what he’s wanted after all those years. But just as the two come to the realization that they’re actually kind of perfect for each other, along comes a secret that threatens to tear them apart.

I was not a fan of this one, guys. I got an advanced edition from NetGalley, so I thought I’d give it a try. Not my best choice. 

Riley, for starters, is irritating beyond belief. I tried to sympathize with her because she got dumped, but at a certain point, I just wanted to smack her. She is whiny and pathetic and I just couldn’t deal with her. And that goes for her two other friends as well. They’re seniors in college and one of them is engaged to some creepy older guy and the other one just likes to complain about how jealous she is. 

The romance is kind of cute but totally predictable and bland. You know that Riley and Max are going to end up together and there’s no excitement or believable suspense. Romantic plots are almost always predictable — so I’m not saying that’s what makes the book bad — it’s the poor writing, ditzy and unlikable characters, and unimaginative themes that turn me off. A story in which everyone’s lives revolve around their boyfriends is a sure fire way to guarantee I’ll hate it. That’s what this book was for me. And that’s all I have to say about that.


Isla and the Happily Ever After SNEAK PEEK YO (FOR ME…SRRY)

So I read an extended sneak peek of Isla and the Happily Ever After (courtesy of bae, NetGalley) and it was awesome. It’s by Stephanie Perkins, so its sheer perfect balance of cute and funny and awkward should be of no surprise to you. You all know how much I love Stephanie because I’ve dedicated a number of posts to her but, no matter how many times I read her books, it still9627755 gets me how good they are. She somehow manages to take what should be a cheesy, shitty, teen romance novel and turns it into this contemplative, adorable, comical and engaging work of fiction that keeps you thinking while simultaneously — I’ll admit it — swooning. What couldn’t you love about this book? Let me tell ya, NOTHING. I LOVE ALL OF IT. At least the first few chapters that I got to read.

I think we all knew that something was going to happen between Isla and Josh right when Anna caught her sketching his tattoos in her notebook (this scene struck me as kind of ridiculous, like everything about it, but that’s not the point). AND the book says, right there in the title, “HAPPILY EVER AFTER,” so it’s not like we don’t know how it’s going to end. To borrow from the world’s steadfast book of cliches, “Isla” is not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

And that much is inarguably true. The first 60 pages or so set the scene with realistic and thoughtful new characters, issues and dialogue. This is going to be a good one, I can’t wait for more!




Let’s talk Jennifer Echols

The first time I read a novel by Jennifer Echols, I was probably 16 and I believe the book was “Forget You.” And back then, it nearly killed me. I absolutely loved it — I think I read it like three times. I haven’t read it since and that’s probably why I still remember it fondly.

See, I just finished her novel, “Love Story,” and boy did I hate it. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have touched a book with such a lame name (I do judge books by their covers because I am, simply put, a rebel). But because I remembered liking “Forget You,” I picked it up. Big mistake. It was overwritten and wholly ridiculous. Like the girl’s life is straight out of a soap opera and not in a good way.

It was definitely not my taste. But if you’re into super cheesy romance novels — which we all are sometimes — then this one’s probably a good fit.




The Delirium series by Lauren Oliver

I just finished the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver. I put off reading this trilogy for a while because I thought the premise was pretty cheesy and a little dumb. “Love is a disease and we’ve cured it” and all that nonsense. And, in reading all of the books, I wasn’t entirely convinced. Because if you supposedly cure all human beings of love, how are they feeling anything at 11614718all? How do you get anything done? So I had some trouble with the believability of the whole thing. That being said, I really enjoyed reading the series. I had to sort of suspend my disbelief about the whole love disease aspect (which is admittedly, a huge aspect) in order to enjoy the rest of the story.

The first book, “Delirium,” was my favorite of the three. It has a great, exciting pace and characters who I found it very easy to empathize with. Oliver’s strongest point is her imagery and her careful, never wordy, diction. It’s difficult to set up the scene in someone’s bedroom, let alone a whole city after curfew or a contraband “love” party that’s in the midst of a dog-fueled raid, but Oliver knows how to do it, and how to do it well. Her characters’ arcs, specifically Lena’s and Alex’s, were authentic and heartbreaking and I felt most connected to them and their story in the first book.

The second book, “Pandemonium,” was good, with its swath of new characters including Lena’s second love interest, Julian, and other members of the Resistance. I think its function was mostly to set up the action of the final novel, and to show how one person can adapt and operate in the face of devastating hardship. I’m a fan of Alex, so the introduction of Julian kind of bummed me out, but I think that was the point. Life goes on, and all that.

The third book, “Requiem,” was just all right, to be honest. In my experience, final novels in a series generally kind of suck. The earlier novels have built this massive web of story lines and characters that readers care deeply about and it’s the final novel’s job to wrap it up in some kind of satisfying manner, and it’s impossible to do that and make everyone happy. But authors try anyway, resulting in a final novel that can feel rushed and underwritten. Such is the case with “Requiem,” and I’m sad to say I really only enjoyed the last 50 pages and the book has 391.

I think Oliver had some very valid and intriguing things to say on the manner of love and the power of a government mankind’s relentless desire to hope and fight when something precious is at stake, and I’m glad she wrote the trilogy. Would I read it again? Probably not. And if I did, it’s a safe bet I’d only make it through the first one. But it’s definitely a necessary read for self-proclaimed lovers of dystopian and YA fiction. Hence why I read it. HENCE HENCE HENCE.